PAUL JENNINGS SMITH
Faith, family, friends and farming… that was Paul Smith.
Paul Jennings Smith passed away June 30, 2015 at the Mount Ayr Health Care Center in Mount Ayr, Iowa. Paul Jennings Smith, son of Bertha Johanna (Jennings) and Samuel Jesse Smith, was born September 5, 1923 on the family farm near Blockton, Iowa. Paul loved living on the farm and enjoyed teasing his two older sisters, Maxine and Gayle.
Paul graduated from Blockton High School where he was president of his senior class and began attending college at Northwestern Missouri State Teachers’ College in Maryville, MO. There he met Frances Lynette Smith, a business and English student. World War II interrupted Paul’s college schooling, and he enlisted in the Navy. He attended Midshipman School at Columbia University, New York, New York and served as a lieutenant aboard the USS LSTS 601, USS LCI 592, and USS LCI 662. He was part of the D-Day invasion and recalled seeing Winston Churchill in his motor launch traveling up and down the columns of ships, holding up the V for victory sign. He also served at the Naval Recruiting Station in Chicago, Illinois.
Paul and Frances communicated through letters while separated and Marcia remembers getting to read all those special letters that Frances saved. They married during the war while Paul was home on leave, December 20,1944.
They packed their lives in one suitcase and Paul’s sea bag, and Frances moved from port city to port city as Paul would get orders to ship out.
After the war, Paul finished college in Louisiana, and then Paul and Frances used money they had saved and bought 40 acres near Sam and Bertha. The house didn’t have running water and every window was broken. Paul, with the help of neighbors, Frank Fink (Uncle) and Louis Clayton, dug a water line to the house by hand.
Paul loved farming with his father and especially enjoyed the registered Angus cattle herd he built through the years. Paul was joined in the farming operation by his son, Kenneth Jay Smith and later, his grandson, Kirk Jay Smith. He often said he was living his dream, farming with his family.
Paul was an active member of the Blockton Christian Church, serving as a member of the church board, Sunday School teacher, elder and deacon. His faith was an integral part of his life, and he lived it daily. He was also a Ringgold County Soil Commissioner, Ringgold County Hospital board member, a Mason, Eastern Star member, and Gideon. Paul was a good neighbor and a good friend. He was genuinely interested in helping everyone he met. Paul liked to read and enjoyed library and Bible study at the Maple Ridge and Mount Ayr Health Care Center.
Paul and Frances celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2014. Their deep love for each other serves as an example of a blessed relationship.
Paul was preceded in death by their daughter, Paula Lynette Smith, his parents, Bertha Johanna (Jennings) and Samuel Jesse Smith, sister Gayle Hilt, brother-in-law Edward Hilt, sister Maxine Kean, brother-in-law Daniel J. Kean, and in-laws Nellie and George Allabac.
Paul is survived by his wife, Frances Lynette (Smith) of Mount Ayr, formerly of Blockton, daughter Marcia (Smith) Allen and husband Gary of Corning, son Kenneth Jay Smith and wife Linda of Independence, MO, six grandchildren with spouses and special friends, and five great-grandchildren. Paul loved babies, and he is in heaven rocking Paula.
Paul Jennings Smith will be remembered as a Christian gentleman. He is greatly loved and he will be missed.
Services were held Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at the Blockton Christian Church in Blockton, IA with Rev. Scott Marcum officiating. Erin Smith-Parks was the vocalist. Casketbearers were John Allen, Kirk Smith, Clint Drake, Chris Welch, Mike Irvin and Matt Faubion. Honorary pallbearers were Brad Langguth, Earl Drake, David Loutzenhiser, Gary Allen, Scott Marcum, Scott Miller, Farris Gray, Jerry King, Richard Brown, Rusty Faubion, Danny Freeman Fred Wall, Roger Jones, Billie Freeman, and Joseph Vanik. Military rites were provided by Blockton Post #443 and the Naval Honor Guard. Burial is in Rose Hill Cemetery at Blockton, IA.
A memorial fund has been established to the Blockton Christian Church, the Mount Ayr Public Library and Mount Ayr Health Care Center.